Nodding Off

by Eve Livingston


I think about this two-word, evocative phrase while watching an episode of Intervention, about a young opiate addict (drug of passionate love affair choice:  oxycontin), still living at home with her family in Ontario.

She’s nodding off during the intervention.  And why shouldn’t she?  It’s not exclusively her agenda that brings them all together.

I realize she is coming in and out of social contact/awareness, in quite the same way an infant does.  An infant simply spent, or blissfully drowsy after drinking her full from the fountain of mother’s loving breast.

This baby can wait to be awake for reality.  She is not asking reality to wait for her.  She wants to gently flow in and out of contact with it, reality, with the social world, much the way we mindlessly breathe.  She wants the luxury of not worrying about the naturalness of this.

I’m struck by the way this baby goes on strike, foments a revolution.  All just to assert her right to still be that baby nodding off.

She’s asking to be safe.  She’s asking to not worry about watching her own back.  She’s asking to be relieved from her vigilance about society, freed from her obligation to the social world, for just this little while, please.

Yet she’s tough enough to not await an answer.  She takes the very freedom she asks for.

I guess she has a point.  How else do babies do it, after all?

One of the amazing things about nature is how babies manage to figure out increasingly clever options as they grow.

When increased options–and time to choose among them–replace the pain-relieving immediacy of the breast (the needle, the pipe, the pill)…when the freedom those options bring can be loved as much or more…then babies have good chances of becoming happy adults.

Sometimes~often, in fact~they just need a little help along the way figuring out why it makes sense to give any of this serious consideration.






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